By Sarah Battle
Captivated is a word I would use to describe my experience after reading our NT8 reading. I sat at a local restaurant during my lunch hour with the goal of reading ten pages. I was caught up immediately in Paul’s story, so much so that the sound of the open kitchen, the chatter of the managers and wait staff, and the dining room’s lunch conversations all went into mute mode. I caught myself tuning out everything around me.
The characters in Acts came alive. I was able to picture the law abiding governors, the angry crowds, the confused soldiers, the curious court, and the courageous believer, Paul. My thoughts were pounded by the justice system of the Roman world. I could understand the reality of the government officials wanting to appease the raging crowds while at the same time trying not to send a non-guilty man to be tried. A similar story occurred years before Paul’s story.
What I was reminded of was that God’s plan for Paul was crystal clear. God would continue to use Paul despite his past and through his hardships. Paul’s boldness, tenacity, courage, leadership ability and wisdom would be evidence of the Holy Spirit working through Paul.
After Paul’s arrest, we see on two accounts that Paul was able to share his testimony. First, Paul shared his story with a raging mob, an angry crowd wanting to desperately get rid of him. (pp. 91-92) Then we see Paul sharing his testimony with the curious King Agrippa and his wife. (pp.97-98) God also uses Paul’s leadership ability during his treacherous voyage aboard a ship. Paul was on his way to stand trial before Caesar. Paul demonstrates his faith by encouraging the soldiers and fellow sailors on the ship to eat and explains to them their lives would be spared if they listened to his commands given by his God.
Paul saw the ability to share the gospel even in hardships as a privilege.
Paul states, “It is more blessed to give than to receive”. (p.89) I believe Paul was trying to reflect not just upon giving material possessions or monetary gifts but giving and sharing what God has done and what He is doing in your life.
What is your story? As for me, God has done an incredible work in my life. I choose not to be silent.
Learn more about NT8 at AFBC here.